You have to wonder what sort of incentive is needed to spur passengers to evacuate a crashed airliner, if a burning wing is not sufficient.

Certification standards require airframers to demonstrate that their aircraft can be cleared in the space of 90s with only half the exits operational.

But evacuation trials take place under far more benign conditions – a sort of organised chaos, with compliant crash-test passengers scrambling for the exits rather than stopping to haul bags from luggage bins.

Not so in reality. Whether the phenomenon has its roots in shock-induced denial, a simple failure to perceive the gravity of the situation, a cultural element, or some other contributory factor, the increased availability of mobile phone footage has repeatedly revealed that the self-preservation instinct often fails to engage.

And bear in mind, as you are shaking your head at video of passengers prioritising the saving of possessions over the saving of their own – and others' – lives, that someone filming on a mobile phone clearly isn't fully committed to assisting a rapid exit either.

That everyone walked away from the Emirates crash in Dubai appears to be a testament to the robustness of the Boeing 777 more than the actions of passengers.

Manufacturers can build a tough aircraft, but they can only go so far to protect its delicate occupants. For heaven's sake, get out.


Source: Flight International